by George Garland, UNA-SNY President
During the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), The UNA-SNY Young Professionals Social and Humanitarian Affairs Committee (YP-SHAC) and its Director Marielle Ali hosted a panel called
“Women’s Responses to Water Crises in the US and Abroad.” Standing room only at the UN Foundation’s Arthur Ross Conference Center heard calls for an International Year of Water and Women highlighting Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 6 as well as refined statistics which enable documentation of women’s issues.
Blockbuster speaker Melissa May told of her work in Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. Melissa had driven from a Congressional Hearing in Washington, DC where she had testified along with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. Melissa got to tell Gina McCarthy that adding phosphorous to water to coat water pipes was just adding phosphorous to water drunk in Flint. Replace the pipes.
Melissa is a hero to both Rachel Maddow and Michael Moore. Health impacts on Melissa and her family are straight from “Erin Bronkovitch.” Early in her activism, a (male) city councilor suggested she was on her period. Undeterred, she studied water treatment methods and health impacts of various contaminants found in Flint water.
A question on the role of the city water engineer elicited that city records had mysteriously disappeared but Google searches showed that officials had declared the Flint River an unfit water source until they didn’t. Alpha Kappa Alpha is providing water to Flint. Melissa noted that distribution is a problem as many do not have cars so Melissa distributes water as she is not on her job during the day because of issues with her liver.
Melissa’s son is in an advanced program in High School which will give him an Associates degree as well as a diploma. He is now getting F’s and has trouble sleeping. Politicians and public officials might say this is anecdotal evidence. I say lead and brain function are related and this is a call to arms.